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  1. #1

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    Light for contact printing

    Hello all,

    I started shooting film last summer, first 35mm, quickly decided I needed/wanted 120. Got a Mamiya RB67 and C330. Love those big negatives and of course I got into developing it myself right off the bat. Start to get good results with all that and even doing well with scanning on a Epson V700.

    Enjoying those nice 6x7 negs so much has made me think how awsome large format must be. So that is where I am heading now....but rather slowly since I lost my job after 11 years back in January. Before I get there I am intend to get a dark room going (I have the space set aside in my house) and start to print enlargments and such. Once again...a slow process these days.

    For now I figure it would be good to start doing some contact printing since I have absolutely no experence with tray developing or with printing papers of any kind.

    Thinking about it the only real thing I am lacking (equipment wise, supplies is a different matter) is a suitable, highly controlable, and very repeatable light source. Of course no money to buy such a thing.

    So I got to thinking....I have two canon 580EX flashes and softboxes with baffles (can add more diffusion as needed). The 580EX is adjustable to 1/3rd of a stop down to 1/128 power. Of course I can do other things, such as change distance and add density gels to contol exposure to 1/10th of a stop. That is as close as my Sekonic 558r meter can get.

    Seems to me I should be able to set the softbox over the table top and use the meter to get desired exposure and check for eveness of light over the area being printed. Place the neg and print paper under the softbox, expose,and develop.

    It seemed so simple that I was afraid it must not be or I would see more folks who were doing the same.

    Then I figured that one issue may be with the softbox its self. I thought it may make the print soft as you would normally use a harder direct light and not this soft light that more or less shallows every thing

    Anyway, I KNOW its not the "right" way and it is not how I plan to do this in the long run. But I thought that if it worked well, I could use it even to start contact printing LF until I can get an enlarger and proper light source with timer.


    Anyone have any input?

    Thanks to all

  2. #2

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    contacts

    sorry but I think you are way over the top here....I originally started out printing contacts with a 15 watt bulb held on a piece of wire that I was able to raise and lower with a pulley...now I use the enlarger or for azo a 200 watt bulb....pretty simple no???
    Best of luck, Peter

  3. #3

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    Thanks Peter,

    I intend to use an enlarger when I can afford to get one. I was just thinking of light source that I could precisely control, and in this case, already have on hand. The flash came to mind but then I added the idea of the softbox to even out the light over the area of the print. While I recon it does sound a bit more complicated than a 15watt bulb hanging on a wire, in my mind it is not, I just figure the softbox would improve the quality of the light.

    Jason

  4. #4
    richard ide's Avatar
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    You really should go for the simplest setup. I would add to the 15 watt bulb, a $6 light dimmer from Home Despot. A timer would also be a good idea but if you adjust lamp distance/light output to give you an exposure of 10 seconds or so, you could use a watch. As long as your light is a foot or so from your negative (or more) you will have no issues with uneven light.
    Richard

    Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?

  5. #5

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    A light bulb on a wire over the printing frame will do it. Use a bright bulb if you are using silver chloride paper, a very low wattage one if you are using enlarging paper. But why anyone would want to use enlarging paper to make contact prints if they could use silver chloride paper is beyond me.

    Michael A. Smith

  6. #6
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Michael;

    I agree to a point, but many of today's enlarging papers are chloride papers with high finish levels to achieve enlarging speed. They also contain sensitizing dyes.

    PE

  7. #7

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    Michael, don't start that all again.... ;-) Many reasons to use enlarging paper for contact printing. Variable Contrast for a start. Very easy to use Multi Grade filters on an enlarger source or light bulb in fitting to take advantage of MG papers. Lith for another. Don't know if you paper Liths. Now there's an experiment to try. Anyone know any reason why it shouldn't Lith?

  8. #8
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Keeds ! This is on my to do list. :-)
    And if it doesn't work I will bleach and redevelop in lith.
    :-) :-) :-)

  9. #9
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Jason, you could find on ebay some old proof printer. They have 12 bulbs with a switch for each of them to dodge or burn.
    Very cheap, nice looking and fun.

  10. #10

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    Guillaume, looking forward to seeing your results...

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